Life Goes On

Well it does.

Almost a month past the disappointment of my no show at the Tely 10 race this year, and well, training is slowly returning to normal. The sun comes up, the sun goes down and I continue to run. And yet, the biggest surprise was the difficulty I had with a small coaching run I did with my Learn to Run group at the Running Room. This was an easy 3km with minimal elevation and was mostly trail. What wasn’t normal was the weather. St. John’s weather tends to be on the chillier side of things and we NLers get pretty used to existing with multiple layers to prepare for that chill. That Wednesday was the first run since Sunday the 17th’s 10km and it was a sunny 25 degree day with a humidity that sent the temperature above 30 degrees.

It was like drinking an ocean while running.

The first km ticked by easily enough and I found myself pulling my group along at a reasonable little pace, proud of the group and their achievements as beginners and myself too for bouncing back. Hey, I felt I had something to prove. We charged along the trail at the head of the pack, legs pumping, conversation light and carefree. It was after the first running interval (10 minutes) and the rest walk (1 minute) that the pain settled into my lungs.

And there it was. The reality of why I couldn’t have possibly run the Tely. I knew I wasn’t feeling great, but the physical limitation of bronchitis was just a made up thing to me in the grief and anger of not finishing out a goal. To actually feel the hurt, deep inside my lungs, made me realize how close I’d actually been to harming myself. If I felt terrible after 10 minutes of easy paced running, would I have even made it past 2km at the Tely?

Confounded by these thoughts, I continued the run slowly, walking parts of it with other group members who graciously kept me company. It was a role reversal. I am usually the one who encourages someone along when they are having a difficult run. Yet, here I was humbly accepting all the motivation I could get from the group just to finish out a 3k. When I finished the run, I led the usual cool down stretches, calmly checking everyone over to look for fatigue or pain as they followed me, but inside I was screaming.

How had I let myself get sick? How had I let this happen, again?

I have started this post many times over the past few weeks each time looking for answers to those two questions. It isn’t just rationalizing the illness, it is looking for habits that maybe I can change for the next time. Because, there is a next time on the horizon. I am running Cape to Cabot again and this cannot happen twice in one year.

While I cannot pinpoint exactly what the hell I’m doing (or if I’m doing too much), I have decided that in the 58 days until C2C, I am going to document it all. I don’t know if I can really commit to writing it all here…maybe a synopsis, maybe a weekly post, maybe my anxiety will calm down just enough for me to think my way through what that might look like and if it would actually benefit me (or anyone really).

In any case, I am giving myself 58 days of training to figure it out.

To start myself off (practice some honesty?) yesterday I took my two week old beginner running group out for their run. I felt fine at their pace and I counted that 2km towards my Wednesday running goal of 5km. Once finished, realizing it’s nice to have company to run, I asked the 10k clinic coach if she wanted to run Quidi Vidi with me. Happily, she was game.

We started out the run at a 6min/km pace, too fast for my lungs, but stubbornly I kept it up until my poor lungs were screaming and I had to beg for a walk break. Surprisingly, it was a pace she didn’t want either and she was just keeping up with me. Runners, right? In any case, I got the extra 3km in and have a grand total of 11km for this week. The lack of run volume really concerns me, but that pain in the lungs is still there. Compensating for the lack of kms is a commitment to gym sessions tailored to fools trying to complete a road race known for its difficult hill climbs and descents.

This is why I do have help along the way found in an amazing friend and coach: Vicky Taylor-Hood. She has a gold medal in lifting obnoxiously heavy things; a great quality in a coach when wading through the immensity of reaching your own goals, dreams and ambitions. That stuff is HEAVY. Check out her site over at Raising the Bar Strength & Conditioning and read some of the wisdom that comes from a strong woman who knows how to prioritize life while maintaining a wildly admirable commitment to her training and clients.

Day 1 of 58

Thursdays are typically a rest day and I do yoga to keep the calves and hamstrings from impeding my stride. I am in the midst of a vegan protein powder search so I made myself a shake and I’m minding my water intake. You can check my Instagram to really see what I eat, as I usually post once a day every other day, and the goal here is as much to show how easy it is to fuel on a vegan diet as it is to keep me eating food that support my training rather than derail it. I even took my vitamins this morning.

Tomorrow, well tomorrow holds for me a posterior chain workout at the gym and a pizza. Because balance.

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